“Tradition holds that only those who successfully swim the English Channel may enter the White Horse Pub to celebrate. They are entitled to write their names on the wall to immortalize this extraordinary feat. I don’t know if my swim across the English Channel would be qualified as an extraordinary feat, but I do know I’ll remember it as an incredible adventure for as long as I live. Time will tell and will assign it its true value. I’m going to celebrate it with the life of each and every child whose cleft lip and/or palate have been treated. I’m going to celebrate it by giving them their smiles back.
The Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation issued a diploma certifying my swim. Today, I would like to celebrate it and share it with my team; my family; my sponsor, Sport City; the Quiero Sonreír Foundation; Fundación Alfredo Harp Helú, A.C.; and Centro Médico ABC, Brimex Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic. Thank you all for your support and for giving me the strength to complete this swim!
During this crossing of the English Channel, I not only swam 57 kilometers to get from the English to the French coast, but also so that 57 operations could be performed on children with cleft lip and/or palate. I learned how to knit and weave and I’m no longer a loose thread, but part of the fabric underlying the transformations that have taken place in many people’s lives. The surgeries started in January 2012, and to this day, I continue celebrating this adventure, which has put big smiles on many children’s faces.”
From my book “Water Days”.. Translation of the book Días Azules by Mariel Hawley